International Door & Operator Industry

JUL-AUG 2013

Garage door industry magazine for garage door dealers, garage door manufacturers, garage door distributors, garage door installers, loading docks, garage door operators and openers, gates, and tools for the door industry.

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Page 43 of 119

SaleS&MarkEting (continued from page 38) I always classifed our team members with a simple letter grade that refected their day-in and day-out overall performance. "A" players are your superstars. The go-to men or women that are the heart of your organization. "B" players are Steady-Eddies, dedicated, hardworking, there every day kind of people and are low maintenance. They just do not have the leadership and initiative the A players demonstrate. They may move to the A position at some point but only a few ever do. "C" players are just "making eight". Their work is average and they do the minimum to get by to hang onto their jobs, need close direction and the most supervision. They can improve to the B level but not without growing up some frst. "D" players are on their way out of the door. In my 33 years as an employer I never had a team member that did not ft in these categories. Your job is to hire, inspire and retain A players. This is a tall task at best since it takes months or even longer sometimes to see what a new team member is all about. In the process you will feld some B and C players, even a D here and there. But as the coach, you need to be constantly evaluating your team's players and the positions their flling. That requires encouraging you're A players' natural leadership skills and creativity, motivating your B players to take on more responsibility progressing to the A level, and deciding whether to double down on C players in hopes that they'll kick into gear at some point. D players need to be thanked for their service to the company and sent on their way. They are not doing you or you're A and B players any favors. Sounds harsh? To confrm this and eliminate your doubts, just ask one of you're a players if they'd like to work with your suspected D player and see what they tell you. There's an old adage that says to be slow to hire and quick to fre. Maybe so. I would agree that doing a thorough job of screening, interviewing and matching up the prospective employee to the position on the front end is critical. How do their goals match up with the company's? Do they seem to have characteristics that will match up with your other team members that will make this a good ft? Did they say the magic words during the interview process? "If you give me a chance I'll show you that I can do this job better than most", now wouldn't that be something. While you may not always hit a homerun of achieving a long term, terrifc hire, you at least increased your chances by investing time in learning about your next possible superstar. I read a book about ten years ago entitled Good to Great by Jim Collins. There were many terrifc best practices identifed used by some of the most successful companies in the world. However the one that stuck with me was the concept of "getting the right people on the bus and the wrong people off of the bus". Simply stated, companies that made the transition from being a good company to a great company were constantly recruiting and hiring the best people to fll the most important positions. They realized that paying for performance is what was most important in their efforts to take their company to the next level of success. Since there are only so many "seats on the bus" that meant that some people had to go. The net effect was that good employees were more inspired to become great employees, which caused these companies to soar. While that may all sound like Fortune 500 mumbo jumbo, I assure you it applies to any size business. You harness the talents of great people you can accomplish great things in a hurry! Suppliers and Vendors My simplistic rating system for measuring performance applied to the company's suppliers and vendors also. Just as you're only as good as your employees, as a company you are as only good as your suppliers and those companies that support your business. Material suppliers, professional services, banks, sub contractors etc., basically any support player needed to deliver our brand to our customers. Let's consider a couple examples by starting nearer the top of the "food chain"…..your material suppliers. More specifcally, your main garage door supplier. Let us frst agree that in most cases their "paycheck" from your business each year is perhaps the largest of all disbursements. Having put it in that context, how is their performance relative to what they are getting paid to do? It has been very popular to use the vernacular "partnering" when describing the relationship between supplier and distributor. Does it really feel like a partnership? Maybe consider applying the aforementioned grading scale to the following. • Dotheycontinuallyprovideinnovativeproductsthatlead the industry? • Howwellaretheirproductsacceptedbyyourcustomers? • How'stheiroverallproductquality? • Aretheyfexible?Dotheyoffertheproductcustomization that you need? • Consistent,ontimedelivery. • Salesandtechnicaltrainingsupport. • Marketingandpromotionalsupportprograms. • Howaretheyatproblemsolving?Aremistakescorrected quickly? • Howeasyaretheytodobusinesswithoverall? Continued on page 42 V o l u m e 4 6 i s s u e 4 2 0 1 3 41

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